10 Facts You Might Not Know About Live-Aid 7-13-85

The massive Live Aid concert occured on July 13th,1985.  The charity concert for the benefit of Bob Geldof's Band-Aid organization to feed the starving millions in Africa was played on two stages in London and Philadelphia.  Broadcast worldwide for 16-hours, the concert became the most-watched event in television history.  

How well do you know your Live-Aid history?  Here are 10 lesser-known, or less-remembered, facts about the historic day at Phildephia's JFK Stadium and Wembley Stadium in London.

1.  70,000 fans filled Wembley and 100,000 at J.F.K. Stadium in Philadelphia, but the worldwide TV broadcast reached over a billion people in 110 countries, including behind the Iron Curtain, which still stood as a barrier to the West. 

2.  Bob Geldof is the name we recognize as the creator of Live-Aid.  The singer of England's Boomtown Rats put together the massive show through an enormous force of will.  But it is lesser known that he had a co-founder - Midge Ure, singer and guitarist for the U.K. group Ultravox.

3.  Status Quo, a legendary British band which had very little impact in the U.S., opened the show at Wembley Stadium.  Since the American stadium wouldn't come onboard for several hours due to the time difference, most of the first bands on in London were groups that appealed to the Brits.  These acts included Status Quo, Style Council, Adam Ant, Boomtown Rats, Ultravox, Nik Kershaw, and Spandau Ballet.

4.  Status Quo led off the show with "Rockin' All Over the World," a John Fogerty song.

5.  U2 played "Sunday Bloody Sunday" and an extended version of "Bad," in which Bono used up 17-minutes of precious stage time to help a fan in the audience get over a chain-link fence barrier to reach the stage.  That meant that the band could not play it's recent hit single "Pride,."  Still, the emotional peak reached by Bono's effort made U2's set one of the most memorable of the long day.

6.  Another peak was the six-song, 19-minute set from Queen.  Freddie Mercury completely mastered the stage and held the audience in the palm of his hand.  A 2005 BBC poll ranked Queen's effort as the 'Greatest Rock Performance of All Time.'

7.  There was a red light on stage that turned on when each band's alloted stage time was up.  During the Who's evening set, Pete Townshend accidently kicked the light and destroyed it.  Knowing Townshend's penchant for smashing guitars in the early days, maybe in wasn't an accident.  The Who went five-minutes over in their show.     

8.  Black Sabbath's set in Philadelphia united the original lineup for the first time in seven years. Considering how much vitriol had been spilled between Sabbath and the solo Ozzy Osbourne up to that point, their reunion was an absolute miracle.  

9.  Bruce Springsteen was asked to perform in Wembley Stadium, but turned Geldof down.  Considering his stance on human rights and charitable causes, that was a surprise.  Bruce has since said that he regretted the decision.  Other folks turning Live-Aid down: Van Halen and Talking Heads.

10.  The concert grew out of Bob Geldof's and Midge Ure's studio project "Do They Know It's Christmas," which gathered many British stars on a charity single to feed the starving Africans.  That single raised 44 million dollars.  Live-Aid raised another 127 million dollars.          


Carter Alan

Carter Alan

Hear Carter Alan every weekday from 10am - 2pm on 100.7 WZLX Read more


Content Goes Here